Becky waving; me panting.
Then something hit me. I don't know if the humidity notched itself up a few more percentiles or, as Jon would say, if it was something mental. But I struggled for the rest of the run. I made Beck pause for walking breaks (something I had had to do in last year's Freihofer race, and I was not happy about doing it then, either). However, I told her I would make it up to her. At one point, after we entered Washington Park for the second time, I said, "Beck, I can't." What I meant was "Hey, dear sister, I'd like to take a short break here and maybe see if I can drain the fluid from my lungs. And by the way, you are rocking this and I love you for putting up with my shenanigans." What a fellow runner heard was "I quit!" to which she responded, "You can do this! Your body is so much stronger than you think it is! You're running with five thousand other women! It's amazing!" So I asked if she would carry me. Becky said she would; and I believe her with all my heart. So there went that break.
Onward we trudged. Or, rather, I trudged and Becky flitted down the street, dodging in and out between slower runners like Bambi prancing through The Meadow. My efforts to usher her ahead and "go on without me" utterly failed. Damn sisterly bond.
When we finally made it back to Madison Ave., I could see the hill, the same one we had shuffled up at the start. This was what I had been waiting for; this was my chance to make it up to Beck. I shouted "Let gravity take you!" like we were in a weird epic-adventure film probably directed by James Cameron. We sped—nay, we rocketed down the final hill and across the finish line. My aunt, uncle, and two cousins were at the finish line and saw us cross. When we asked how we looked coming down the hill, my cousin Larsen said, "Well, you looked pretty angry." He meant me. Becky, I'm sure, looked like a gazelle mixed with an Amazonian warrior. I, on the other hand, may have been a little angry. But in the words of Fat Amy, the heat/humidity had "fueled my hate fire." We had finished the race.
In the end, I am vowing to my sister that we will run another race together. Maybe we can do something with an earlier start time, since running in colder temperatures is likely not in her future because she hates cold weather (something about numb and/or frostbitten toes . . .). But let the record show that I did enjoy this race and its outcome: times of 30:25!